This is a new dawn in the Soviet Union -- or whatever the country emerging from this week's failed coup will be called. Just as President Mikhail S. Gorbachev's six years of reforms altered the psychology of his fellow citizens, so have events of the past few days changed the political dynamics between the Kremlin and the republics. Mr. Gorbachev is back in his office today not only because of the personal courage and leadership of Russian President Boris Yeltsin but also because every other republic refused to join the reactionary takeover against the central government.
The desperate clique of one-time Gorbachev confidants hatched the ill-planned coup to prevent Tuesday's scheduled signing of FFTC new union treaty that would shift much power from the Kremlin to Russia and the other republics. It is certain that the treaty document will now be thoroughly re-examined. It is also quite certain that if anything, the republics will demand increased power-sharing with a president they helped rescue.
Once the union treaty is signed -- a ceremony that should take place within the next few weeks -- the political clock will start ticking. Within six months, a new constitution has to be adopted, followed by new elections of "the organs of power of the union." This means new -- and direct -- presidential elections as well as replacing the existing parliament, which is packed with appointed deputies of the now-discredited Communist Party.